By Yusuf Kanli
Can there be anything more absurd? Well, probably. After all, the world is going through such a period that every day the level of absurdity is being carried to new heights. Still, the creation of a Sunni Alliance led by Saudi Arabia with the aim of fighting Sunni, Salafist, jihadist, Islamist terrorism might constitute a new and hard-to-be-surpassed world record in absurdity.
Who created al-Qaeda? Who fathered the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? Who has been financing and in every way possible supporting those “Taliban” (Students) groups, or other “cemaats” obsessed with a certain school of Islam, categorically declaring the rest of the Muslim and non-Muslim world as infidel or heathen, which must be exterminated?
For the prime minister and his mentor, the almighty president of the still-Turkish Republic, Islam and terrorism should not be used in the same sentence. So a steadfast alliance of Sunni Muslim countries against “terrorists exploiting religion” is the most suitable answer ever delivered to those who aimed at defaming the good name of Islam. Of course, Islam has always been a peaceful religion. Never ever in the history of Islam has there been any practice showing intolerance against people subscribing to other religions. Claims that three of the first four caliphs were killed in political infighting are all infidel lies.
The United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were happy that besides Ankara and Riyadh 32 other Muslim capitals have agreed to join this new Sunni Alliance - the composition, strength and mission of which is yet to be agreed on. What’s known so far is that it will be led by the Saudis, headquartered in Saudi Arabia, and will be an “anti-terrorism alliance.”
Who are the terrorists that the alliance will fight? I would say a Muslim alliance will fight Muslim terrorists, but that would be a grossly wrong answer. Indeed, what is being created will not be a Muslim alliance to fight the terrorist menace wreaking havoc in the Muslim world: It will shun Iran, Iraq and Syria and everything related to the Shia, thus consolidating the already huge division between the two main schools of Islam.
Could this be a new beginning? Probably. Could this alliance be the nucleus of a new polarization in the Muslim world? Most probably. Could this eventually lead to a new and rather interesting “crusader mentality” – if not full-fledged war – between Sunni and Shia Islam? Most likely.
Since this will be a military alliance, Turkey will most likely be the NATO link in this new grouping, which is already slated to wage a “war for normalization” in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and probably Egypt and Libya.
Could this be yet another manifestation of efforts by the Saudis to limit the activities and operational capabilities of Shia Iran in Syria and Iraq, as well as in problem spots elsewhere in the Muslim world? If what the Saudi-Qatar duo have been doing in Yemen is considered, it might be easily argued that under the pretext of fighting terrorism this new alliance will primarily aim to minimize the influence and power of Iran.
An Iraq that has already dared to take serious action against Turkey’s “unauthorized military presence” in its territory will most likely oppose such an alliance using Iraqi territory as a test ground for new weapons and arms. If Iraq and Syria – and probably Egypt, although it is cited as being one of the alliance’s 34 founding partners – refuse to allow their sovereign territory be used by this new alliance, it might be clearer that this new grouping is nothing short of an adventure that might further complicate the region’s security scene, if not push it into an all-out regional – or, God forbid, global - war.
Will the anti-terrorism struggle of this 34-nation alliance be limited to aerial operations? What if a need for boots on the ground arises? Will Turkey send troops for out-of-Turkey operations as a “requirement” of its new alliance? What if a confrontation with the “government elements” of Iran, Iraq or Syria eventually takes place while fighting terrorists somewhere in Syrian or Iraqi territories? Will the Turkish military engage in combat? In short, what will be Turkey’s contributions to the new alliance?
It appears that there is an insistence on insanity in Turkey’s foreign and defense policies.